Gold of the Amazon Women (1979)

Made-for-TV and originally airing on NBC in 1979, this film was produced by Alfredo Leone (BARON BLOOD, LISA AND THE DEVIL, VENGEANCE) and shot in New York City and Trinidad and Tobago.  Leone put together 1.9 million dollars between the network’s contribution and the European market.  What resulted is the head scratching spectacle before me today…GOLD OF THE AMAZON WOMEN.

Amazons are making their way across the rooftops of Manhattan as intrepid explorer and scaliwag Tom Jenson (Bo Svenson) settles into a leather club chair at the Discoverer’s Club.  Jenson is an explorer of no small repute, neither should his future partner Luis Escobar (Richard Romanus), as evidenced by their membership in The Explorer’s Club stand in.  Rumor has it Tom’s been slumming it and working a longshoreman.  When questioned, he neither confirms nor denies it but states that there is nowhere left to discover and a man has to make a living.  A cryptic encounter with an elderly explorer and his Amazonian murderesses piques Jenson’s interest.  He is galvanized into action when a fellow explorer is mysteriously poisoned by wine obviously meant for him.  He and Escobar fly to the Amazon to find the fabled Seven Cities of Eldorado ahead of a shadowy drug lord (not Escobar…)

The two explorer’s utilize every resource at their disposal.  Map in hand, they
question a local priest about the legend.  Afterwards they enter a friendly native village and are feted as honored guests by the chief as the raucous celebration lasts long into the night.  Bo comes across quite sleazy as a busty native dances her way into his libido angering Noboro (Robert Minor), the man who would soon be their guide.  After leaving the village they are attacked by the sly drug dealer Clarence Blasko (Donald Pleasance) and his leggy outcast Amazonian assassins.  He pursues them in a laughable range rover vs. helicopter battle that is mostly made up with loop footage of the actors pointing and shooting for what seems like forever.  Soon the explorers find the village of Queen Na-Eela (Anita Ekberg) and her Amazon warriors.  They are locked into the man cage for use as breeding stock until Blasko destroys the village and heads for the cities of gold.  United in a common cause, the men and the Amazons set out through the rainforest to stop the villain from stealing the treasure.  Along the way they must battle not only Blasko but a hostile tribe of headhunters hell bent on keeping the secrets of the cities safe.  

Though made-for-TV, GOLD OF THE AMAZON WOMEN has an amazing scope and is almost epic in its vision.  From Manhattan to the Amazon, in this case Trinidad, the explorers trot around the globe in search of a legendary treasure.  The two men are able to overcome the Amazons’ distrust for men and gain a willing and powerful ally in their quest.  Will the women be able to maintain their autonomy now that they have taken to following Tom Jenson’s lead?  Will Jenson and Escobar win out over the sinister Blasko? Is there nudity?  I can answer the last question.  There was.  When released to the European market, the previously mentioned hot busty native pops her top as she dances for ol’ Bo.  Sadly this footage is lost except in the form of the trailer.  If you want to see the goods watch the trailer on the disc.  

This flick is packed with stars.  Bo Svenson hams it up with his usual hungover bravado, Donald Pleasance chews the scenery and is delightful as he realizes he is in a room full of gold, and Anita Ekberg seems horribly miscast.  She is woefully out of place in her tight-fitting suit that shows her years, especially when she is always surrounded by her tall statuesque warriors clad in tight buckskin bikinis.  Judging by the appearances of these belligerent babes I would believe they were imported Amazons or Valkyries-every one of them is a stunner.  Their scenes are always high energy with them constantly running about or engaged in one form of combat or another.  It’s unfortunate that they all speak broken English that sounds like Yoda if he had been dropped on his head at birth.  The settings are quite good and the set design of the temple are good though the Amazon village itself is quite boring with every hut looking virtually identical.

The picture quality is excellent and it is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen.  The movie is a brand new HiDef master.  The DVD includes the trailer, and an interview with Alfredo Leone.  Surprisingly no trailers except for the feature’s.  The Leone interview is very interesting.  He speaks of his experience making the film and interacting with his cast. Bo Svenson was a perfect gentleman up until he signed the contract at which point he supposedly became hell on wheels.  Fred “The Hammer” Williamson was originally cast to play Noboro but he declined to take part in the shoot because either he or Bo would be dead before it wrapped.  I’m going to go out on a limb and think these two stars did not get along too well at one time.   GOLD OF THE AMAZON WOMEN can be purchased directly from Code Red on their Big Cartel webshop.

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